The Court of Appeal has lifted the stays orders issued by the High Court back in November 2023 that in effect allowed the government to continue levying housing tax on Kenyans despite the same court having declared the levy unconstitutional. The housing Levy was implemented under the Finance Act 2023 and since July 2023 Kenyans were being deducted 1.5% of their gross salary with the employer required to match the deduction to fund the affordable housing project.
Going by the reactions on mainstream and social media, Kenyans have welcomed the decision of the Court of Appeal with pomp and jubilation. The President of the Republic of Kenya His Excellency Dr. William Ruto has expressed his dissatisfaction and has vowed to continue with the Affordable-Housing project since he claims that the housing program is aimed at creating 300,000 jobs for youths in Kenya adding that, currently 130,000 people are already earning a livelihood from the housing project.
‘’ I want to say with avoidance of doubt the housing program is going to give us jobs in manufacturing, in our cement industry, in manufacturing, in our steel industry, in ensuring that carpenters, architects, engineers, masons, steel fixers and people working in construction site have a job.”
In their appeal, the government avered that the project has employed a lot of people and they risk being sued for breach of contract if the stay orders were to be lifted. However, the Court of Appeal noted that no single contract was placed before the Court in support thereof.
The decision by Lady Justice Lydia Achode, Justice John Mativo and Justice Gatembu Kairu aligns with the feelings of majority of Kenyans who expressed dissatisfaction with the Housing levy. On the other hand, the President opined that, the decision by the Court of Appeal went against the best interest of the public in view of the fact that there can never be greater public interest than creation of employment.
“There is no greater public interest than the employment of million of citizens who for a longtime had never had an opportunity to work for their country because there has been no plan on how to employ young people in Kenya.”
He added that, Kenya Kwanza administration is the first elected government to implement a manifesto that has a plan on how to create jobs in Kenya through the Affordable – Housing Program. The President also lamented that the people who went to court to stop the housing project have jobs and they are trying to deny millions of poor Kenyans and opportunity to earn a living.
He made it clear that the government has an assignment to promote equality amongst Kenyans.
‘’We are on a mission to make sure that we create equity in the Republic of Kenya by affording every young person an opportunity to work.’’